Posted by: atowhee | January 21, 2018

HAWAIIAN BIRDS BECOMING GENETICALLY DIFFERENT…

Depending on what island they inhabit.  Hawaii gives evidence of rapid genetic drift among bush-warblers who’ve been there less than 100 years.  Evolution in action.

Advertisements
Posted by: atowhee | January 21, 2018

TRUMP VS. SALMON

The current American regime is against nearly all environmental regulations, and that may lead to yet another prolonged legal battle.  This time over a pesticide that is dangerous to salmon, orca and other ocean animals here in the Pacific Northwest.

At issue is the danger from three organophosphate pesticides – chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion.  Remember those names…they may become the latest in a line of manufactured, profitable, destructive organic poisons going back to DDT and beyond.

Posted by: atowhee | January 20, 2018

A TOUCHING SCENE, BUT WHY?

1-20-18    I got this image of two Acorn Woodpeckers touching beaks.  Was this an adult and young so long after breeding season?  Was this some pre-courtship or pair bonding activity as it would be with ravens?  I can find NO mention of such behavior in any of my references.

Here is suggestion from Pamela Johnston: “It looks like courtship. Many species have interactions between the potential mates in which the male feeds the female or responds to her begging behavior. My interpretation is that he shows her that he can feed young birds by responding to her imitations.”AW-COURTSHIP

Gray: the sidewalks, the low clouds, the sun leaking through a sky-curtain, the very air.  To see two Lesser Goldfinches being golden was a visual jolt.  Then, later, the faces of Acorn Woodpeckers, high in the old oaks.  They were loudly discussing some pertinent matter.  Several speaking in turn.  I like to think this congress of woodpeckers was agreed on the goal to do what’s best for their colony and their acorn storage. Unlike a human congress we all know of, there the goal seems to be for one greedy faction or another to hoard all the acorns to the detriment of the test of the ‘peckers.AW-GRANERYAW-GRANERY2AW-GUD

My pet peregrine—I assume it is the same bird—was back, in an oak treetop this time.   A few days ago I called a peregrine a merlin, now I have reversed my falcon-fallacy.  More than one carfeful examiner have corrected my ID–this is in fact, a Merlin.  Eating, though I could not make out what bird he’d caught. The woodpeckers were active and unperturbed just below him in the same oaks…so I assume it wasn’t one of their colony.  The thin toes indicate it was not a duck and larger than a sparrow or finch.PEREATS1PEREATS2

The No Name Pond had an assortment of ducks.  There was a pair of Hoodies and a pair of Bufflehead.  I assume they were mated pairs as they swam near one another.  The quartet of Ring-necked ducks seemed suspended somewhere between menage and mélange—three males and single female.  I don’t expect that grouping  to last long. Our wintering ducks generally pair off before they fly off.

JANUARY FLOWERING

Hellebore, heather, a bold azalea, primroses and a premature plum are all blooming in our neighborhood in quiet corners of suburban gardens.  The viburnum have put out clusters of tiny purple buds.  Rosemary is there for any bee brave enough to appear in public.  Hazelnut trees are hung with catkins up to five inches long. Some daffodils are now nine inches high with stalks topped by yellow buds.  Crocus and iris are already racing upward toward spring. Most springlike was this soft-bodied character out for lunch on January 19th.  No slugabed he.IMG_0582IMG_0585IMG_0586IMG_0589Pinot Noir Drive NW, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 20, 2018 4:00 PM – 4:20 PM.  5 species

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  5
Merlin  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  3
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 20, 2018. 7 species

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  40
Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas)  11
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  8
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  4
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  2
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  2
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati)  1

Merlot Marsh–private land, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 20, 2018.  4 species

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  12
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  6
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  20
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  2

Posted by: atowhee | January 20, 2018

RABBIT RELEASED

A young man saved a badly burned bush rabbit from the Southern California wildfires recently…and now the bunny is recovered and back in the wild…in an area that didn’t burn.

Posted by: atowhee | January 18, 2018

MY PET PEREGRINE

There he was again this afternoon.  High in the dead top of a Doug-fir, perched about five yards from where he was on Tuesday.  This time he didn’t stay long and didn’t have any food in his clutches.  Can I call him “my pet peregrine?”

The No Name Pond had a different assortment of ducks today, dominated by dozens of shovelers. Construction of roads and housing is coming to the site so I hope the pond survives in a habitable condition.

We got our warbler trifecta again today–the gaudy Townsend’s male plus one each of the two flavors of Yellow-rumped.HMALEHMALE2Hoodie above, Ring-necked below, males one and all.RND IN POND3DEERECollatred Dove, RIP.  I am thinking maybe a small owl…who else would leave most of a fresh body?  Housecat?ECDFemale flicker at our suet.n-fEMALE

Pinot Noir Drive NW, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 18, 2018.  8 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  X
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  8
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  40

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 18, 2018.  6 species

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  40
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  2
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  4
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  2
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  2
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1

Merlot Marsh–private land, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 18, 2018.  5 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  10
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  15
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  30

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 18, 2018. 17 species (+1 other taxa)

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  X
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  X
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  X
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])  20
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) (Setophaga coronata coronata)  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s) (Setophaga coronata auduboni)  1
Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  20
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  2
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  2
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  2
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  30
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | January 18, 2018

SNOWY OWL VS. FOX

Click here, for video from some fixed camera in an unknown, snowy location.

The Snowy Owl would have been more than a match for the fox who wisely left.  These owls are the beefy brutes of the north, often killing prey that weigh much more than the owl (about 4-5 pounds).  Very strong and long talons.  They regularly kill the big snowshoe hares of the Arctic.

Posted by: atowhee | January 18, 2018

WE HAVE A TREND

2017 one of the three hottest years on record.  Other two: 2015 and 2016.  Get it?

Of course, our genius President knows all this temperature stuff is just a Chinese conspiracy.  Will he shut down NASA and NOAA? Other nations will continue to monitor our planeteary demolition.

Posted by: atowhee | January 17, 2018

BAY AREA EVENTS IN MARCH

I will be doing several events in the Bay Area in mid-March.  Three are through the auspices of the Golden Gate Audubon Society (GGAS).

SFNH COVERSan Francisco’s Natural History.
A course by Harry Fuller.   
March 14, 2018 from 7pm-8:30pm.
$10 GGAS member, $20 non-member

This fascinating presentation will move across three centuries of observation and change in the wildlife and ecology of San Francisco. Once rattlesnakes ruled Telegraph Hill and a grizzly bear was seen swimming across Mission Creek. Today most creeks are underground and exotic trees fringe the horizon. We will look at the introduced, the invasive, the survivors and the prospects of the future. From nano-plastic pollution to climate change, people now can alter the future of all living organisms in the environment. The banning of DDT in 1974 and the subsequent return of Brown Pelicans and Peregrine can be a road map to where we should go now.

Class will be held at the Google Community Space, Main Event Room, 188 The Embarcadero (enter on Steuart Street, San Francisco CA 94105

Copies of Harry’s new book, San Francisco’s Natural History: Sand Dunes to Streetcars, has just been published and will be available for purchase.
Here is website where you can register: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/goldengateaudubon/eventRegistration.jsp?event=3796


Guided Field Trip with Harry Fuller
Saturday, March 17 and 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.  Limited to 20 people ; $50 GGAS members, $75 non-member price
Harry will lead participants to some key places in San Francisco’s Natural History, including Land’s End & Sutro Heights, Tennessee Hollow and El Polin Spring in the Presidio, Crissy Field, and Lake Merced. What would have been here in 1750? How have these places changed over time? Why is each location notable now? What may lie ahead? How can we make a difference in the future of Natural San Francisco?

Trip will happen regardless of the weather.

We will carpool from our first meeting site. Participants will need to bring layered clothing for the ever-changing SF weather; water, lunch and snacks; and, of course, binoculars.
More details and Information about meeting place will be sent to participants a week before the trip.
Registration site: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/goldengateaudubon/eventRegistration.jsp?event=3804

——————–

Guided Field Trip with Harry Fuller
Sunday, March 18 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.  Limited to 20 people ; $50 GGAS members $75 non-member

Harry will lead participants to some key places in San Francisco’s Natural History, including Land’s End & Sutro Heights, Tennessee Hollow and El Polin Spring in the Presidio, Crissy Field, and Lake Merced. What would have been here in 1750? How have these places changed over time? Why is each location notable now? What may lie ahead? How can we make a difference in the future of Natural San Francisco?

Trip will happen regardless of the weather.  We will carpool from our first meeting site. Participants will need to bring layered clothing for the ever-changing SF weather; water, lunch and snacks; and, of course, binoculars.
More details and Information about meeting place will be sent to participants a week before the trip.
Registration site: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/goldengateaudubon/eventRegistration.jsp?event=3805
——————–

I will also be giving as talk at the Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek.  This will be about Great Gray Owls, the evening of March 16th.  Lindsay has the only captive Great Gray Owl in the state of California as far as I know.  You can hear the talk and meet the owl.  Her name is Shadow.

Posted by: atowhee | January 16, 2018

NOT A MERLIN…PEREGRINE

There were random displays of beauty today.  A rainbow arching over a grand old oak.  Green-winged Teal at close range in perfect light.  Heather and primroses already in bloom.  The songs of sex-crazed Red-winged Blackbird males, and even a Song Sparrow spoke up.

There have been OBOL reports of nesting Anna’s Hummingbirds recently in Oregon.  In coastal California I’ve seen the female on eggs at Christmas. Like crossbills, the nesting impulse in Anna’s hummers seems to be directly tied to food supply.  When there’s food, there’ll be nesting.  With climate change we should expect more and more females to stay here and not migrate out, thus more winter nesting.

When dog and I got to the end of Pinot Noir (street, not the wine supply), I looked across the treeline for any birds.  Making a full circle, as I turned back to the north along Baker Creek a magic Merlin Peregrine had appeared.  His approach and arrival, unseen  by me.  But that explained why there were no sparrows visible.  He was dining.  MERL-AMERL-BMERL-CAbout twenty minutes after I took these pictures I looked at the Merlin Peregrine from afar and saw him beaking the gore off his talons.

Was this guy really making holes in this home?  Or just checking to make sure the flashing was secure?ACWO-BLDG

acwo bldg2BRITE=BOWOAK-BOWclwdsMallard of Merlot Marsh:MARSH MALLSome of the ducks of No Name pond:no name pondRWB-ONEAbove, this  male was singing at Merlot Marsh, then a second male flew in to join the competition.  Still no females could be seen.RWB COMPETERWB FEEDERWARBLERS: ONE OF EACH

Both the Audubon’s and Myrtle Warbler showed up today in our garden, at different times.  The Townsend’s returned as well.  This is the richest warbler day here that I have recorded.

Merlot Marsh–private land, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 16, 2018.  6 species

Great Blue Heron (Blue form) (Ardea herodias [herodias Group])  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1–doing territorial flight
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  20–singing males

Pinot Noir Drive NW, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 16, 2018.  17 species

Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas)  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  2
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  10
Peregrine 1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  3
White-breasted Nuthatch (Pacific) (Sitta carolinensis aculeata/alexandrae)  1
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  X
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  X
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  3
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

No Name Pond, McMinnville, OR, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 16, 2018.  7 species

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii)  15
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  50
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  20
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  15
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  6
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Purple Finch (Western) (Haemorhous purpureus californicus)  3

Posted by: atowhee | January 15, 2018

MORNING CHORUS: BIRDS AND FROGS

Again the Red-winged Blackbirds pretending it’s April, chorus frogs chorusing.  Also, at Yamhill Sewer the snipe were in their wintering marsh which has filled to about a half acre now.  They can be very hard to see when they are not in flight.  Most shorebirds are fine with open areas and visibility, like Killdeer and Sanderlings.  Snipe act more like rails or Wrentits.  Concealment is their ideal.  Like this:IMG_0321IMG_0328IMG_0334IMG_0336The Kestrel pair were hunting side-by-side.  The couple that slays together stays together. Male nearest the camera:k-pairl-s flckSHOVES1BUFF_LI1SHOVEAround the garden feeders:myrtFirst myrtle warbler of the year, replacing the Audubon’s who failed to appear.myrt2myrt3Siskin actionpisi flapp

Yamhill Sewage Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Jan 15, 2018. 18 species

Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)  80
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  12
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  30
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata)  5
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  1
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati)  1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group])  4
Kestrel  2     mated pair
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  20
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  200
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  35
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  8
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  50

Older Posts »

Categories

%d bloggers like this: